Vatican officials are expected to vigorously fight a suit stemming from problems at insurers once associated with the financier Martin Frankel.[@@]
The suit, filed in federal district court by Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale, claims the Holy See violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act in connection with the disappearance of more than $200 million that has been alleged to have been masterminded by Frankel.
Damages could reach $600 million.
A ruling on a dismissal is expected this summer.
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A Vatican spokesman has denied the church profited from business dealings with Frankel or accepted funds he stole.
Historically, the Vatican has fought U.S. suits by claiming sovereign immunity. But this case focuses on the Vatican Bank’s involvement.
Lee Harrell, deputy insurance commissioner, says the commissioners in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee “thought long and hard” before taking such action.